According to the assertion, the administration will spend $30 million on crack pipes.
Some Republican politicians have taken to social media to accuse the White House of handing out free crack pipes as part of a federal grant program to decrease the health hazards connected with drug use.
The misconception originates from a Washington Free Beacon piece published on February 7. a conservative media site, an unidentified HHS spokesperson as saying that a Biden-backed program “would offer pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and “any illicit substance.”
Republican lawmakers rapidly seized upon the claim.
President Joe Biden “is delivering free meth & crack pipes to minority areas in the name of ‘racial equity,'” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Twitter on February 8. An article on Biden’s criminal justice program by the Free Beacon, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, referred to it as “crack pipes for all.”
The claim was widely discussed on social media by Feb. 9.
Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative commentator, claimed in posts posted on Instagram and Twitter on February 9 that “the Biden plan to supply $30 million in crack pipes to the black community is an excellent metaphor for the relationship between the black underclass and the Democratic Party.”
Community-based harm-reduction groups around the country will get $30 million in federal funding as part of a Biden administration effort to combat a large spike in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 outbreak that began in 2013. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Assistance Administration, harm reduction programs can prevent overdoses, HIV transmission, and other poor health outcomes by providing health and social services to active drug users.
According to officials, supplying or funding crack pipes is not part of the Biden administration’s grant program, even though some of the money is designated for supplies such as sterilized syringes and “safe smoking kits.” In addition, there was no mention of crack pipes in either the White House or the Department of Health and Human Services plans.
According to Sarah Lovenheim, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the EPA, “The Biden-Harris administration has never permitted the use of federal financing for smoke pipes and will not in the future.”
In an interview with USA TODAY, D’Souza said he based his social media posts on initial reports about the funding, although none checked by USA TODAY made the assertion D’Souza claimed that a total of $30 million was going to crack pipes.
Several social media users who spread the report were contacted by USA TODAY for comment.
No money for crack pipes, the government says
There is no evidence that the federal funding program will give free crack pipes, as other media sources and independent fact-checking organizations have stated.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced in a joint statement released on February 9 that harm-reduction grants will not be used to purchase pipes.
According to the statement, no federal funds will be utilized to put pipes in safe smoking kits, either directly or through eventual reimbursements to grantees.
Crack pipes are not included in the initial 75-page grant proposal from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. However, “safe smoking kits/supplies” are mentioned.
Safe smoking kits, usually referred to as “safer” smoking kits, are designed to lessen the health risks connected with drug use. According to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a grassroots advocacy group, first-aid supplies are commonly included in the kits since open wounds and sores increase the risk of disease transmission. According to Harm Reduction International, a nongovernmental organization in the United Kingdom, they may also include glass pipe stems and mouthpieces to reduce health problems connected with improvised smoking devices.
However, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, the grant program under the Biden administration never included pipes.
When asked about the inclusion of crack pipes in the package, she responded that this was “inaccurate reporting during a press briefing. ‘A safe smoking pack may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, and other hygiene products to enhance health and limit the spread of infections like HIV and hepatitis.'”
Additional information was sought from the White House by USA TODAY.
“safe smoking kits” are just one component in the grant program.
Even though D’Souza and others linked crack pipes to the campaign’s $30 million price tag, smoking represents only a small element of the award program.
According to the grant application, the funding is intended to “support community-based overdose prevention initiatives, syringe services programs, and other harm reduction services” in order to “reduce the negative personal and public health implications of substance use or misuse.”
There are eight major projects that grantees must execute as part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant proposal, which was released in December and offered for submissions at that time. Recommending treatment, providing overdose reversal medicine, and educating users on how to minimize the harmful effects of drug usage are just a few examples.
Per the document, beneficiaries of grants are required to produce information on their actions so that the government can assess whether the program is accomplishing its objectives. There will be information on everything from the products purchased to those directed to treatment facilities.
One of the 12 supply categories specified in the grant proposal includes safe-smoking kits. Other services include safe sex kits, infectious disease testing kits, and vaccinations..
The grant program’s priorities are prioritized those who are “greatly impacted” by substance use disorders. In addition, executive order Biden signed in January 2021 states that “persons otherwise severely affected by persistent poverty or inequality” include members of racial/ethnic/sexual/gender minorities as well as those who live in rural areas and those with disabilities.
Because the government does not provide crack pipes, some critics are still accusing the federal program of aiding drug users and addicts by supplying any form of materials. Therefore, they argue that the government should not provide such goods.
“If you want to get high, you’re going to have to do it the hard way. People die from taking these substances at some point or another “On February 10, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy announced that he and other Republicans had sponsored a measure that would prevent government monies from being used for the production and distribution of crack pipes.
Public health professionals hailed a variety of drug-safety programs, such as those that offer smoking accessories and syringes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug users who participate in syringe programs are five times more likely to seek treatment for a substance addiction issue and fifty percent less likely to contract HIV or hepatitis C.
FALSE IS OUR RATING
According to our investigation, the Biden administration’s assertion that it will spend $30 million on crack pipes is false. The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services have both denied this.
The federal government’s overdose prevention program will provide funding totaling $30 million to local groups working to reduce drug abuse. Twelve different kinds of materials are available for grantees to choose from, including safe smoking kits. However, the grant money cannot be used to distribute or purchase crack pipes.